I’m a pastor on the beautiful island of San Pedro. This island is one of the most popular destinations in Belize, and its inhabitants consist mostly of foreigners who come to retire or party hard! It’s my job as pastor to spread the gospel and teach others of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With clubs, parties, and other secular programs going on daily, some may not be interested to hear the Word, but the story of Jervis and Yvonne shows me how God is working here.
Jervis and Yvonne migrated from the sandy beaches of Jamaica to Belize. As reggae artists, they were deeply rooted in their traditions and beliefs of the Rastafarian life they had come to know and love. They came to Belize to pursue a life of enjoyment, singing and playing music. They dedicated their lives to making cool, Caribbean island music. They, along with a group of Jamaicans, planned to meet with a Belizean reggae promoter to take their music to the next level and serve the world with the vibes of the reggae they loved.
I met Jervis and Yvonne at Robin’s Kitchen, a local restaurant that serves great food. “Brother Harvey,” an Adventist, is the owner of the place. He befriended Jervis and Yvonne, who enjoy eating at his restaurant.
After speaking with the couple for a while, I felt impressed to invite them to church. They humbly denied. It wasn’t the first time my church invite had been denied, but I thought, They are Rastafarians—the odds of them giving their lives to God is probably less likely than other non-believers.
One day as Brother Harvey and I approached Robin’s Kitchen, we met Yvonne. After we spoke for a while, she went next door to get Jervis, who was in the bar having his favorite—a Belizean Belikin beer. Feeling impressed by the Holy Spirit again, I invited them to church. To my joy, Jervis responded, “OK, Pastor, this is my last beer. I will come to church.” God is so powerful!
On Sabbath morning, in walked Jervis and Yvonne. They were eager to learn, and so we started Bible studies. They also wanted to live a healthy lifestyle and decided to give up all harmful substances and eat a natural vegetarian diet.
After much Bible study and regular church attendance Jervis and Yvette decided to give their hearts to the Lord. They decided to get married after many years of living together. They began singing a different tune—a gospel tune. They are married, baptized, and dedicated to working for the Lord through their music ministry.
“I love my church, and I’m ready to sing,” says Yvonne. “I have peace of mind, and I keep studying our [Adventist] message.”
“I’m very happy now,” Jervis adds. “I need to be strong and confident. I’m very happy for Brother Harvey and other members too—they keep me strong.”
Jervis is especially happy to be playing music for the Lord now. Both he and Yvonne are active in evangelism. “Music pulls people together,” he says. “It’s the medium to bring them in.”
Story by Pastor Nadir Ruiz, pastor of the New Horizon Seventh-day Adventist Church in San Pedro, Belize.